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THE NEWS YOU NEED | February 2012
Two Weeks Left to Apply: Become a Food for Life Instructor! »  Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Menu »  Kickstart Your Health: New Food for Life Classes Focus on Losing Weight in a Healthful Way »  Food for Life in the News: 55-Year-Old Man Loses 40 Pounds on Kickstart »  Food for Life Instructor Spotlight: Jonathan Gaxiola  » Diet and Cancer Research Update »
Question of
the Month

Are carcinogens from cooked meats safe in any amount?


Two Weeks Left to Apply: Become a Food for Life Instructor!

The deadline for PCRM’s spring 2012 Food for Life training is Feb. 10. There will only be 20 spots available at this training, so don’t wait to apply!

The three-day training offers an exclusive opportunity to become certified to teach the award-winning Food for Life program. Through this unique experience you will be able to bring your passion for a plant-based diet for chronic disease prevention and control to your community, while putting your cooking, presentation, and entrepreneurial skills to use. The training will include presentations by PCRM’s staff of nutrition experts, tips and techniques on how to bring the program to your community, program resources and support, and more!

This program has been approved by the Commission on Dietetic Registration for 20.0 Continuing Professional Education Units (CPEU).

The VNA-CEA approval number is 11-09-05S for 20.0 contact hours of Continuing Nursing Education (CNE). This continuing nursing education activity was approved by the Virginia Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.


Wednesday, May 9 – Friday, May 11, 2012


PCRM/ FFL Headquarters
5100 Wisconsin Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20016







$599 independent “freelancer” (teaching at various venues in community)

$899 an educational institution; corporation; medical, wellness or fitness center; cancer organization; culinary school; or faith group with a demonstrated commitment to health (teaching exclusively at the institution, not at other venues in the community); individuals based outside of the U.S.

  • $149 per additional team member*
  • $249 per additional team member* with continuing education credits

*These individuals will be added to a wait list and will be invited should space be available.


Nurses, dietitians, other health care professionals, cancer survivors, those with a health, cooking and/or nutrition interest. No culinary or medical background required.


Apply on our website by February 10, 2012

Space is limited to just 20 participants, so don’t miss this opportunity to get certified to teach the Food for Life classes in your community.

Sign up to receive updates! >>

Food for Life Instructor Spotlight: Jonathan Gaxiola

This month’s featured Food for Life instructor is Jonathan Gaxiola, who teaches English- and Spanish-language classes in Arizona. Here is his story:

Food for Life instructor, Jonathan Gaxiola

As a little boy in Arizona, I didn't know my weight was a problem. I had always been heavy and thought I would always be that way. Food was my best friend and the solution to all my problems–or so I thought.

The trouble started when I was 17 and at a doctor’s appointment weighed in at two pounds shy of 300. "Obese" was the word my doctor used. He said I had to make some changes, but it seemed like an impossible task. I didn't even know what a healthy weight felt like, much less how to reach it. I was so embarrassed and my self-esteem was so low, I was afraid to ask for help. It was the summer before senior year and I put off having my yearbook picture taken to the last possible day. On a quest to lose the weight the "proven way," I started consuming large amounts of lean animal protein, but the changes backfired. When the picture deadline came, not only was I still carrying the weight, but I was also sick from the diet.

I felt a feeling of heaviness in my stomach whenever I ate, as if I had swallowed a stone. A naturopathic doctor explained that my pancreas was stressed and my stomach and kidney functions were extremely weak. The doctor advised to avoid consuming animal protein, and I felt better within days. Curious about this idea, I began to study the situation in depth. In my research, I came across the concept of plant-based nutrition, but instead of welcoming the idea, I was bent on finding fault with it.

Food for Life instructor, Jonathan Gaxiola

I put it to the test, excluding not only dairy and meat, but refined sugar products as well. The result? A 120-pound weight loss! I also noticed that my hair got thicker, my skin cleared up, my energy level was greater, and I slept much more soundly. Most importantly, I felt confident about myself. For the first time in my life, my emotional state of mind and self-esteem were great!

My entire family has benefited from a plant-based diet. My parents and siblings have lost a great deal of weight. My grandmother has been able to control her blood pressure and my grandfather has successfully reversed his diabetes, even in their late 70’s. In my role as a Food for Life instructor, I can understand when people fear they can never do it and provide my support where it’s needed. I love helping people reach their goals.

In my quest to find fault with a plant-based diet, I found the answer to my ailments, as well as a new satisfaction and savoring of foods. I believe that if you want to live, why introduce anything lifeless into your body?

Jon will teach a one-day Spanish-language cancer class series in Tucson later this month. To learn more and register, visit our website.

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Day Menu

Heart Healthy Valentine's Day Menu

PCRM is thrilled to share a Heart Healthy Menu in celebration of Valentine’s Day and American Heart Month. Put aside the chocolate boxes and decadent desserts this year—show your loved ones how much you care about them by preparing delicious, health-promoting meals filled with grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables! Menus you prepare at home on special holidays don't have to mean indulging in heavy meals with high levels of fat, salt, and sugar. The key is to incorporate fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables into your recipes and to keep your recipes simple.

For ideas, view our Heart Healthy Menu! >>

Kickstart Your Health: New Food for Life Classes Focus on Losing Weight in a Healthful Way

Kickstart Your Health

The New Year often brings to mind the need for health-focused resolutions and new habits. In late January, PCRM completed a new curriculum for Food for Life instructors designed to help attendees shed the pounds they’ve always wanted to lose. No wacky diets here, just delicious, low-fat, high fiber meals to support your new exercise regimen. The program is similar to other Food for Life classes in that it offers a lecture, cooking demonstration, and supportive group setting. However, these classes are designed to offer guidance and focus primarily on losing pounds and maintaining a healthy weight for one’s overall well-being.

Several instructors have already scheduled a class series for their communities. Interested in hosting Kickstart classes at your institution, organization, or workplace? Contact the Food for Life team today to see if there is an instructor in your area who can bring this lifesaving information to your community! Contact us >>

Food for Life in the News: 55-Year-Old Man Loses 40 Pounds on Kickstart

Randy Hale, of Elgin, Okla., struggled with diabetes for years. It was only when a friend of his began a plant-based diet and he witnessed the benefits that he decided to try it for himself. At age 55, Randy had a blood sugar reading of 185, a 40-inch waist, and chronic arthritis. After trying the Kickstart and sticking with the program for weeks, he now weighs in at 140 pounds, has a blood sugar level of 85, and a 28/30-inch waist. Randy’s energy level is up, and he is thrilled to be healthier to enjoy life with his family.

To learn more about Randy’s journey, read Sonya Colberg’s article on the Oklahoman website. Read more >>

Thinking about adopting a vegetarian diet? PCRM has a wealth of resources available to support you, including our Vegetarian Starter Kit. Visit our website >>

Diet and Cancer Research Update: Red Meat and Kidney Cancer

The risk of kidney cancer is increased by eating red meat and grilled and pan-fried foods, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers tracked approximately one-half million men and women in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. Those who ate the most meat, around 4.5 ounces of red meat per day (about the size of an average hamburger), had a higher risk of kidney cancer.

The two most identifiable types of kidney cancer are clear cell and papillary carcinomas. As more red meat enters the diet, papillary carcinoma risk increases. Although no association was found for clear cell carcinoma and intake of unprocessed red meat, red processed meat (in particular, sausages) increased risk. Researchers also observed intakes of heme iron (animal-based iron) and two types of carcinogens found in cooked meat, PhIP and BaP. Those with the highest levels of heme iron, BaP, and PhIP had more than twice the risk of papillary carcinoma and a 20 to 30 percent increased risk of developing kidney cancer overall. Meat is high in heme iron that can serve as a pro-oxidant, a chemical that can damage cells.

Daniel CR, Cross AJ, Graubard BI, et al. Large prospective investigation of meat intake, related mutagens, and risk of renal cell carcinoma. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012;1:155-162.

New Food for Life Cooking and Nutrition Classes for February

View cancer prevention and survival classes here >>
View diabetes prevention and treatment classes here >>



Anchorage: Alaska Family Medicine Center (1/9, 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20)
Anchorage: St. Anthony Catholic Church (3/5, 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16)


Tucson: Maple Court Residence (2/22)


Lodi: Lodi Memorial Hospital (1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1)
Long Beach: St. Mary Medical Center (1/30, 2/6, 2/13, 2/20)
Sacramento: Whole Foods Natural Market (2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/4)
San Diego: Cooking 4 Life (1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13)
Santa Cruz: New Leaf Community Markets (1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15)
Thousand Oaks: Thousand Oaks Seventh-day Adventist Church (1/8, 1/22, 2/12, 2/26)


Loveland: Chilson Recreation Center (4/14, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5)


Cape Coral: Cape Coral Hospital (1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21)
Celebration: Oak Shadows Road Residence (1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/8)
Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (2/29)
Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (3/7, 3/14, 3/21, 3/28)
Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (4/4)
Naples: Cancer Alliance of Naples (4/11, 4/18)


Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (1/12, 1/19, 1/26, 2/2)
Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31)
Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (7/12, 7/19, 7/26, 8/2)
Rockport: The Picker Family Resource Center (9/20, 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25)


Marblehead: Energy Within Fitness Studio (2/9, 2/16, 2/23, 3/1)

North Dakota

Fargo: Skaff Apartments (1/25, 2/29, 3/28, 4/25)

South Carolina

Charleston: Roper Hospital Cardiac Rehab (2/14, 2/23, 3/8, 3/13)
Charleston: Roper Saint Francis Cancer Center (1/19, 1/26, 2/2, 2/9)


Nashville: Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health (4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3)


Richardson: Methodist Richardson Cancer Center (1/23, 1/30, 2/6, 2/13)


Salt Lake City: Orson Gygi (1/26, 2/2, 2/9)


Reston: Whole Foods Market (1/4, 1/11, 1/18, 1/25, 2/1, 2/8, 2/15, 2/22, 2/29)


Redmond: Redmond PCC via The Cancer Lifeline (6/6, 6/13, 6/20, 6/27)



Anchorage: Providence Family Medicine Center (1/10, 1/17, 1/24, 1/31, 2/7, 2/14, 2/21)


Santa Cruz: New Leaf Community Market (3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/2, 4/9, 4/16, 4/23, 4/30)

The Cancer Project

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